The full name is Major Depressive Disorder. We all know it simply as “depression.” But there’s nothing simple about it. The symptoms alone are daunting, e.g. sudden changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, and energy levels; feelings of guilt and a sense of worthlessness. You may also lose interest in your favorite activities. Depression can lead you down a dark road that involves thoughts of suicide.
Common treatments to help you cope with depression
The primary purpose of this post will be self-care. Learning methods you can rely on is a powerful step towards recovery. This is not to say you should forego other treatments. But, for example, developing ways to cope with depression will very much enhance your therapy sessions.
7 Things You Can Do to Cope with Depression
1. Practice mindfulness
We often dwell on the past. Oftentimes, we fear the future. This combination is the root of many of our problems—including depression. Mindfulness inspires us to stay present. In the moment, depression loses some of its power.
2. Don’t choose isolation or inactivity
It’s a familiar cycle. The worse you feel, the less you want to do. The only thing that sounds tolerable is being alone. We all need some me-time but isolation will likely exacerbate your depression. We all need to rest but inactivity is not the solution. As you’ll see below, depression tells you lies. One of those lies is that you are better off alone.
3. Take care of your physical health
Self-care is important for everyone, in countless ways. When it comes to depression, it has dual value:
- You’re reminding yourself that you matter. You have worth and deserve to be well.
- As the self-care makes you feel better, you’re in a better position to cope with depression.
We’re not talking about an elaborate, time-consuming routine (but there’s nothing wrong with that). For starters, take care to make healthy eating choices. In addition, choose to exercise and stay active. Develop some kind of relaxation technique. You deserve all of this…and more!
4. Create a daily routine for yourself (including sleep)
Keeping a daily routine is one way to maintain focus and self-esteem. Regular sleep patterns, for example, are healthy in multiple ways. Part of being mindful is appreciating the value of each moment. Routine helps makes that happen.
5. Examine anger as a factor
It’s been said that depression is anger turned inward. With that in mind, it helps to explore your history of anger. Perhaps keep a journal to monitor patterns. Anger on its own is normal and very human. Repressed or out of control anger can be the source of many health issues.
6. Don’t believe depression’s lies
Depression is an expert liar. Here are some of its most common tall tales:
- You don’t have depression
- Try harder
- You can’t be fixed
- Nothing matters
- You don’t need to ask for help
It’s super important to not trust anything depression tells you. The more active and social you are the less convincing these lies can be.
7. Reach out immediately if things get too dark
Depression’s ugliest lie is: “You’d be better off dead.” It can lead to dark thoughts and even to an obsession with death. This is not a symptom to be taken lightly. On the contrary, it’s the time to reach out for immediate help.
Help is always available
Finding the power to cope with depression on your own is not always possible. Sometimes, it’s not advisable. That’s when therapy is crucial. Working one-on-one with a dedicated therapist offers you a safe space to share and grow.